By Joe Beck - firstname.lastname@example.org
A 40-year-old West Virginia man is facing charges in Shenandoah County of grand larceny auto, eluding police, burglary and several other offenses dating back to February 2011.
Shenandoah County sheriff's deputies arrested Douglas Michael Merson on Aug. 1. Sheriff's Lt. Tom Shelton said the charges stem from events on late Feb. 21, 2011 and early Feb. 22, 2011. Shelton said a deputy tried to initiate a traffic stop but the suspect fled about two miles before the vehicle, a Ford Aspire, was found abandoned. Shelton said the attempted traffic stop, suspect's flight and discovery of the abandoned car happened between Stoney Creek and Union Forge roads in Edinburg.
Shelton said investigators used evidence found in the abandoned car to determine that the driver had broken into Phillips' Creekside Auto Body earlier in the evening. Items taken from the auto body shop included a bottle of Wild Turkey bourbon and a prescription medication, Shelton said.
Shelton said the investigation also determined that the Ford Aspire was stolen from West Virginia and other evidence found inside the car was linked to a church burglary in West Virginia.
Shelton said deputies believe that Merson was the driver of the Ford Aspire before it was abandoned and that he stole a 1996 Jeep Cherokee from Phillips' Creekside upon a return visit to the business later that night.
Shelton said Merson was arrested during a burglary in progress in Capon Bridge, W.Va., days after the crimes in Shenandoah County. The vehicle with him was the 1996 Jeep Cherokee from Phillips' Creekside Auto Body, Shelton said.
Merson was charged with burglaries in that incident and with other burglaries in West Virginia linked to evidence recovered from the abandoned car in Shenandoah County, Shelton said.
Shelton said Merson was convicted and jailed in West Virginia until his recent release. Upon his release, he was served with an arrest warrant linked to the offenses in Shenandoah County in February, Shelton said.
Merson's court date in Shenandoah County General District Court is still to be determined.